Let's say you're on a crowded bus in a foreign country, waiting to be shuttled fifty meters over to the plane, when onto the bus steps a person who, you are quite certain, is a transvestite.
How much staring is *too much*? I mean, can you take a glance, think to yourself "geez those five-inch stiletto heels look awkward on shim" and no more? Can you stare longer at the long, bleach-blond hair cascading awkwardly down the shoulders and wonder why shim didn't pick a more less-glaring hairstyle?
Is it okay to search in vain for an Adam's Apple, or is that considered gauche?
I feel that the social auspices of this situation are currently poorly-defined. I know all the rules about looking down a woman's blouse, or having a chick try to stare up your shorts. But with people pushing the boundaries, it's time we began to establish societal rules of conduct for those of us who are square and not sure how to deal with these situations.
Could somebody write Dear Abby on this?
"Dear Abby: how long can you stare at a potential transvestite in a public setting before you've crossed over from stunned onlooker to obnoxious gawker? And is it ever okay to just straight-out ask 'hey, you were once a dude, right?' Signed, Rubbernecker
"Dear Rubbernecker: The rule for transvestites is the same for trying to catch a glimpse of panties on a woman sitting in a too-short skirt: one to three seconds is allowed, but anything over five and you're leering. And unless you plan on buying him/her/it a drink, you may never ask what was the original tool kit. "
That seems like a decent rule, doesn't it?